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January 12 2013

The first stop of the SWATCH Freeride World Tour by The North Face 2013 (FWT) concluded yesterday. Revelstoke Mountain Resort's Mac Daddy face burst through a sea of clouds and was illuminated by crystal clear skies.

The picturesque day started with men's snowboarding on the pristine, snow covered venue. The North Face and GoPo athlete Ralph Backstrom of Squaw Valley, CA, USA defended his 2012 Revelstoke title with a score of 89.33. "I was a little nervous we wouldn’t have good light conditions after the past few days but was so excited to have bluebird skies," explained Ralph Backstrom. "The super steep pitch of Mac Daddy makes it difficult not to go over the handle bars when landing jumps. I really like the big features that exist on this terrain." As the Freeride World Tour season continues, Backstrom is looking forward to competing near his home on Lake Tahoe at Kirkwood Mountain Resort in February.

Continuing on the men’s snowboard podium was Ludovic Guillot-Diat of Villard-de-lans, France taking second place with a very fast and fluid run earning a 79.33. Also representing France was third place finisher Aurelien Routens who aggressively charged down the fall line scoring a 74.33.

Topping the field for men's ski competitors with an outstanding performance throughout the whole venue was The North Face athlete Drew Tabke of Crystal Mountain, Washington, USA with a score of 91.00. This event was the first time Tabke has found himself placed on the top of the podium with a second and third place finish here in the past.

"Mac Daddy is the most beautiful mountain we get to ski on the tour and the snow in British Columbia is amazing," exclaimed an elated Tabke.

"Some challenging conditions existed on the venue due to slides, but my line had great snow." He further noted his season goal is to win the overall 2013 Freeride World Tour title. "The title means more than ever before, but mostly, I want to have fun skiing with all of these incredible athletes from around the world."

Rounding out the men's podium in second place was Jeremie Heitz of Les Manecottes, SUI with a score of 79.67 who was one of the few skiers to successfully ski the fall-line high-speed double from the start confidently through exposure. Finishing out the top three male skiers, the always-popular Julien Lopez of France who strongly skied the riders right-hand side potion of the Mac Daddy face which consisted of multiple pillow drops and cliffs which rewarded him a score of 73.00.

Afternoon brought low light and more challenging visibility to the venue but the women accepted the challenge. Shannan Yates of Snowbird Ski Resort, Utah USA took the ladies snowboard podium with a 63.33 with her smooth style and confident big mountain riding. "This is the steepest venue the female snowboarders have yet to face," said Yates. "The top of the run was variable and icy making it hard to go fast, but I managed to ride my line and land both airs."

Margot Rozies of Pyrenees, France managed to grab the second spot with a score of 58.00 and Elodie Mouthon also from France joined the podium in third place with a score of 54.67.

Female skiers were faced with the most difficult conditions of the day created by extremely poor visibility and excessive slough movement from all the previous competitors. The 2012 Overall SWATCH Freeride World Tour Women's Ski Champion, Christine Hargin of Austria once again placed herself on top of the podium with a well balanced polished run throughout the face earning a 65.00.

Nadine Walker of Arlberg, AUT scored 58.00 for a second place finish. And finally, the effervescent Australian Natalie Segal, executed a smooth double pillow drop which was rewarded with a 55.33 score for the third place finish.

"It is difficult to describe what a momentous accomplishment today’s event was for the riders and sport of freeriding," said FWT Americas Event Director Bryan Barlow. "Today officially marked the unification of the Freeride World Tour. We have set the bar very high here at Revelstoke and I look forward to watching the season unfold."

The Freeride World Tour is the premier big mountain Freeskiing and snowboarding tour in the world, featuring the sport's top athletes competing on the biggest mountain resort venues. Riders compete one at a time and receive an overall score from a judging panel based on numerous categories including line difficulty, control, fluidity, technique and style. The event features natural terrain features found on the most exciting format possible. A start gate is positioned at the summit with a finish gate at the bottom. The best complete runs win. The sport is similar in context to big-wave surfing with skiers and snowboarders choosing impossible-looking lines through cornices and cliff-faces and couloirs. Competition runs are enhanced with progressive big jumps and mach-speed turns at an aggressive pace.

The SWATCH Freeride World Tour by The North Face continues its competition schedule in Courmayeur-Mont-Blanc, Italy on January 19th (Men's Ski and Snowboard), Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France on January 26th (Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard), Kirkwood, California, USA on February 27th (Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard), Fieberbrunn Pillerseetal, Austria on March 9th (Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard), and concludes in Verbier, Switzerland on March 23rd (Men's and Women's Ski and Snowboard).

Archive video of the event action is located on FreerideWorldTour.com.